The Australian Red Cross’s ban on blood donations from sexually active gay men will come under scrutiny after the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission agreed to investigate a complaint from a gay man who was blocked from giving blood.

Tasmanian man Michael Cain, 22, lodged the complaint with the Commission in August after being barred from donating blood in Launceston last year because he admitted having male-to-male sex in the previous 12 months. Cain, who said he felt dirty after the Red Cross stopped him from giving blood, welcomed the Commission’s decision last week to examine the ban.

The Anti-Discrimination Commission has said that, on the face of it, this is a clear case of discrimination, which makes me feel optimistic about a just outcome, Cain said. He has also filed a complaint with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

It is understood the Red Cross has two weeks to respond to Cain’s complaint. The organisation says its ban on gay men who’ve had sex in the previous 12 months is based on international evidence of gay men being at greater risk of contracting HIV.

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